Friday, March 4, 2011

Homeschool Highlights - Week 19

Yes, we're only on week 19. Yes, we're going to be schooling until next year. Despite the discouraging fact that we are only halfway to the end, we have had a productive week.

The 3Rs

Readin' - The boys have made so much progress in their reading over the last year. There is little now that I have to help them with as far as reading goes, and they even read every now and then for pleasure {gasp!}. Granted, their free reading includes Horrid Henry and Iron Man, but they are reading.

Right now we are focusing on vocabulary. Since they were slow to begin reading and have not read a vast wealth of literary treasures, I have discovered their vocabulary is quite limited. We are using Wordly Wise to brush up on vocabulary.

'Ritin' - I have been trying to have less running-around-because-I-finished-my-work-before-you-did time. To accomplish this, I have had to come up with some activities for the kids to do when they finish early. And I don't want time-filler junk, so I have employed two different writing programs, one for Alex and one for the boys. For the boys, I pull topic assignments from a box of writing prompts I picked up at a school supply store. Alex is working from Story Starters.

'Rithmetic - I have been using Bob Jones successfully with Michael, and I think it's a great program. I plan to use the online option next year. Alex is about to finish her math up for the year, and I was going to go ahead and order BJU online for her to get started, but it doesn't start until June 1. What to do, what to do...

Useful Resources

We have a store here called Blick Art Supply. They have many, many wonderful online lesson plans for art. I had planned this week on doing the Diaper Wipe Diffusion project; however, when I went to Blick's to get the special diffusion paper, turns out it is only available online. PLUS, I also discovered that most wipes these days are alcohol-free. Anyway, the point is, the resource is still an excellent tool to use for art class, even if it doesn't all work out like you planned.


Since we couldn't do the Diaper Wipe Diffusion project exactly as instructed, I bought some watercolor paper and tweaked the plan a bit. We still used markers, but instead of spraying a diaper wipe, we painted on water over the water-based markers. The kids had fun, and I liked how they turned out.
Top left we have a Pterodactyl by Michael, to the right is Alex's sunset, under Alex's is a rather abstract flower by Audrey, and on the bottom left is a flesh-eating zombie courtesy of Jacob. (No, I couldn't be prouder.)

Books We're Reading

We are just about to finish our read aloud, Calico Captive. Though the kids were quite into The Bronze Bow by the same author, they have been reluctant to become engaged in this one. I'm not sure why as it is a very compelling story. Perhaps I did not do a good enough job giving them background information and setting up the story.

At any rate, the book goes perfectly with our history study this week on the French and Indian War, which we played out using our Risk game board.

Our Memory Verse(s)

This week, we have memorized 1 Corinthians 13:1-7.


Besides church clubs, Audrey had her first gymnastics class, and the kids all had co-op. The boys have been involved in an official Lego class at co-op and have really enjoyed it.

Jacob Legos

Michael Legos

The girls have been taking dance.
Audrey ballet

There is lots of fun time in the gym playing a game called Ga-Ga,

Boys Ga-Ga

and there is always something fun to do in science, though we weren't able to stay for science today.

Other Noteworthy Tidbits

Like I said, I've been working to create meaningful activities to fill time when one child might be done while the others are not. This way, I do not have 1 child doing wild laps around the house while the others are trying to do long division. I have also cracked down a bit on the structure of our schooltime. One thing I've always liked about homeschooling is the flexibility we have with schedule and with where we school. However, we have had some serious attitude issues lately as well as some apathy towards schoolwork. So...I put my foot down. The kids must now complete their schoolwork at the table. Things have been going a lot better. I can better supervise them when they are all in one place rather than in 3 different tents and forts. While I don't have "desks-in-a-row" on our homeschool shopping list, this change has been an effective one.


joelle said...

Sounds like a good like. I can relate with the foot down on work being done at the table. I've had to require that of my boys. Have a good week-end.

Mama Zen said...

I love the idea of playing out the war with a Risk game. I think that my daughter would really get into that.

Brownie said...

In my home my daughter is more disciplined than me... isn't that sad? She gets her work done despite me.

I love how you take pictures of the process of schooling.

Bunch of Barrons said...

Great shots...sounds like a busy week!

dclouser said...

Loved reading about how home school is going this year! So excited to hear that the boys are doing great in reading. There are a ton of good graphic novels out there that they might like as well (what we used to call comic books).

Anonymous said...

Great shots!

Phyllis said...

I love the idea of showing the wars by RISK game! Do not fret about what you haven't gotten to yet...just be pleased with what you have accomplished!

Jennifer said...

Neat! I need to figure out some "meaningful activities" too. . . I have so many littles that keeping everyone occupied is HARD! THe three year old is often bored and done long before the five year old is ready to be done. . . Thankfully usually I can keep my two year old occupied with coloring and stuff. . . it's keeping the one year old from trashing the joint that is getting harder. He doesn't want to be wrapped on my back and enjoy the view as much anymore - he wants to do stuff!

Amy @ Cheeky Cocoa Beans said...

I've been thinking about requiring my 13 year old to be with us more while he's doing school work. He does most of his work on his own and considers it torture to sit on the sofa with me for math and maybe it would be better if he were out of his room for a longer portion of his day. Then may be worse, for a variety of reasons! I sympathize with him, since he is the oldest and I know I couldn't have gotten my work done with my younger brothers in the same room. I'm torn! I'm not sure it would work as well for us as it does for you to have everyone at the table. But that's the beauty of homeschooling, isn't it? We don't have to do what doesn't work for us. :)

It sounds like school is going quite well for all of you! And I'm sure you are so proud of that flesh-eating zombie. ;)

CrossView said...

There is something SO satisfying in seeing them reading! YAY for them! YAY for you!

Are you sure Michael's isn't a stegosaurus? ;O)

I love all the art work! But I laughed at the zombie... For some sick reason, we love zombies here. =/

Great idea with the Risk board!

Looks like you guys are trackin'! :O)

CrossView said...

There is something SO satisfying in seeing them reading! YAY for them! YAY for you!

Are you sure Michael's isn't a stegosaurus? ;O)

I love all the art work! But I laughed at the zombie... For some sick reason, we love zombies here. =/

Great idea with the Risk board!

Looks like you guys are trackin'! :O)